Time flies when you are collecting arcane objecs and killing hordes upon hordes of evil creatures. Today's wo hours were very productive. I will save some time by noting that no, I certainly did NOT get any new party members. I keep putting it off for another day, and it's hard to blame me. I handle all battles easily by myself, and only a few dungeon runes become tough with only my one guy; however, I can avoid nearly all dungeon rooms.
A case in point was in Shame, where th dungeon room quite near a down ladder was completely blocked off on three of the four sides, and I was unable to get to the door. My solution? Just cast Z-Down, obviously. I don't need no stinkin' ladders. I beat Shame and Wrong (second time was the charm), and then I tackled Hythloth. That dungeon was actually pretty fun, because I eventually found the location where the stone would have been had it been in the dungeon (the ankh on the screenshot). I appreciate the detail. Eventually, I exited the dungeon near the Stygian abyss and hopped in the nearby balloon, which I used to get the white stone. Hooray! The balloon goes pretty fast, though, so casting wind change spells in midair to target my drifting to the one little grass patch in the middle of the mountains to land was a pain in the rear.
The bottom line is that now I have all the stones, and everything else I need. I used the Blink spell to get to Cove, incidentally--for some reason, I could teleport TO the city, but not easily FROM it. I had to leap over mountains to the north, then over a river! The town featured a handful of people that I didn't know what to ask, but almost all of it was information I'd heard elsewhere. The Candle of Love was there, though, and I learned the gate travel spell. Now, other blogs I read mention how useful that spell is, but I don't understand why. I almost never come close to death, and waiting for moongates isn't that bad because the phases change pretty darned quickly. What is its value? Among the other things I accomplished were acquiring the Skull from the bottom of a volcano-surrounded sea, and accidentally finding mandrake root in the suspicious swamp tile north of Vesper. I saw it and assumed, "Oh, this is where the Nightshade is!" but it turned out to be mandrake root.. I need to actually use my sextant next time, I guess.
Tomorrow I'll hit the bottom of some dungeons and get the "three part key" needed to finish the game. Will I build up my party then? I guess I will need to. I also have to become an Avatar in Compassion and Honesty, but I am not 100% sure how to go about doing this. I will close with the weirdest screenshot I have, which appears to show me in a back alley with a thief. It happened while I was in an inn, and the game claimed "while out for a stroll." A stroll where!? Weird. What am i doing out so late? I need my rest (never mind that the game lacks day/night cycles).